In the passage beginning on page 150, Bronte suggests that Jane Eyre’s overwhelming desire to be loved and accepted, prompts her to take on the role of being more than Adele’s governess after discovering that both of Adele’s parents have abandoned her. Jane’s disruptive childhood forces her to feel compassion for Adele’s situation and motivates her to save Adele from everlasting despair. Bronte establishes this point through specific diction that allows the readers to understand how closely related Jane’s past is to Adele’s present.
The first section of this passage begins about one third of the way down page 150 and Bronte reveals the heartless nature of the character Mr. Rochester, as he informs Jane that he refuses to care for Adele because he does not consider her his daughter. The powerful effects of his words hit severely with Jane, starting from, “…I am not her father,…” Mr. Rochester ruthlessly continues by saying, “… I e’en took the poor thing out of the slime and mud of Paris, and transplanted it here…” Mr. Rochester carefully chooses to refer to Adele as “it” rather than my daughter or even by her name because this shows how distant their relationship is. By telling Jane that Adele’s mother left her for a musician and by following this statement with what appears to be his gracious efforts of bringing Adele to England, emphasizes his desire to uphold his façade of appearing to be a generous gentleman. However, by Mr. Rochester saying, “…to grow up clean in the wholesome soil of an English country garden” and connecting that with Mr. Rochester and Adele’s first interaction after many years of separation, where he lavishly presented her with gifts, it seems as if Mr. Rochester views Adele as more of his charity case. By taking a child who he claims to have no relation to, out of the slums and bringing her to a luxurious castle, maintains his appearance of being a charitable and loving gentleman. Mr. Rochester also subtly says “…mud of Paris…”which juxtaposes his comment on “…the wholesome soil of an English country garden…”because the theme of appearances is prevalent at that moment because he implies that England is far better than Paris, which can also be the reason as to why he refuse to claim Adele as his daughter.
The second section introduces the idea of Jane’s longing to be accepted and loved by others as she openly expresses her disgust for Mr. Rochester’s words and her desires to form a closer bond between herself and Adele. After Mr. Rochester inquires that Jane will soon “…beg [him] to look out for a new governess…” she immediately replies with, “…No — Adele is not answerable for either her mother’s faults or yours: I have regard for her, and now that I know she is, in a sense parentless — forsaken by her mother and disowned by you, sir, — I shall cling closer to her than before.” Those lines are quite powerful on various levels ranging from Jane’s choice of words to the differing usage of punctuation. Jane’s initial reaction of “No…” followed by a hyphen shows how abruptly she was willing to inform Mr. Rochester that she would not easily relinquish her duties and by soon there after realizing that Adele was parentless, just as she, Jane harshly tells Mr. Rochester that Adele should not be punished for her parents’ irresponsible behavior. Cleverly, Jane remains respectful by calling Mr. Rochester “…sir,…” however, she dutifully notes that she could not care for the “…spoiled pet of a wealthy family, who would hate her governess… [but rather] a lonely little orphan.” The spoiled pet reference connects backs to Jane’s childhood and how she was constantly abused by John Reed and the “…lonely little orphan…” was Jane just a few years prior when she lived at Lowood, but through all of this, Jane found a savior in Miss Temple. Just as this teacher at Lowood went beyond her duties to guide Jane through many difficult times during her childhood, Jane now desires to do the same for Adele.
In the third section, Bronte portrays Jane as a motherly figure towards Adele and this portion is significant because Jane does not yearn to be loved through a phony appearance but through her genuine actions. After Mr. Rochester briefly tells Jane to go inside, she disobeys and decides to stay out and play “…a game of battledore and shuttlecock…” with Adele and when they went inside, Jane “…removed [Adele’s] bonnet and coat [and] …took [Adele] on [her] knee…” Jane’s actions represent a motherly persona, and she even promises to “…appreciate all that was good in [Adele] to the utmost,” all of which are things Jane was denied of while growing up. The fact that Mrs. Reed could not look past her outward appearances and the fact that Jane was only at their residence upon request of Mr. Reed, contributed to Jane’s solitude. The last line of this section, “…if [Adele] could have been proved to resemble him, he would have thought more of her” is something that Jane finds extremely disheartening because constantly throughout her childhood, many referred to her as “…physically inferior…” (20) If Adele was of English decent and Jane was one the Reed’s, both of them would have physically upheld to their family’s standards and would have been accepted.
The passage on page 150 is significant on many levels one of which is that it reveals Jane’s desires to finally be appreciated and valued for who she is rather than overlooked and considered an outcast. Bronte also portrays the many levels of betrayal and cruelty many of the characters possess as Mr. Rochester denies paternity of Adele. Jane’s ambitions cause her to want to begin a deeper relationship with Adele, such as the one she created with Miss Temple because Jane understands that she was able to overcome some of her greatest challenges with the assistance of someone who genuinely cared about her well being. Bronte’s idea of love and accepting people for who they are is importance because through Jane she shows how anyone can overcome a struggle with the support of loved ones.
Matsuoka, Mitsuharu “Charlotte Bronte Jane Eyre.” 14 April 2009. < http://www.lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~matsuoka/Bronte-Jane-2.html#XV>
4/27/09: Prompt Essay
The final chapters of Jane Eyre are quite interesting because after Jane returns to Thornfield, she discovers that much has changed, which forces many residents to change as well. This sudden drastic turn of events occurs at a time in Jane’s life when she is financially stable, but seems to be missing true love. Once reunited with Mr. Rochester, on the surface love seems to prevail but it is questionable as to how much each character has learned from their experiences.
From the beginning of their relationship, Rochester strongly desired to change Jane’s social status and appearance by ordering her to “…choose half a dozen dresses”(266) from a silk warehouse, which she despised, but went along with regardless, because she knew it would make him happy. However, Rochester’s more recent situation forced him to begin “…to experience remorse, repentance, the wish for reconcilement to [his] Maker. [He] began sometimes to pray…” (435) Since Rochester’s house burned down and he became crippled, he was forced to rely on God and Jane for much assistance and I feel this event causes Jane and Rochester to become equals. Rochester finally knows how it feels to be in such as low place in his life where he needed to turn to a higher power for guidance. Although Jane was not overly religious, she valued the importance of putting her troubles in God’s hands to guide her through numerous difficult situations, which eventually led her to places that were far better than her previous establishments, such as Lowood Institution and then Thornfield. After Rochester was blinded, he lost many of his old friends and this led to seclusion from the rest of society, which ironically was a major factor throughout Jane’s adolescence. Although Jane and Rochester can finally be equal after sharing similar experiences of solitude and despair, I don’t feel that Rochester changed voluntarily. The loss of control Rochester once held over Jane was a direct result of his handicap, which later “…knit [them] so very close…”(439). He was forced to grovel for her forgiveness and to change because Jane became “…his vision…his right hand,” (439).
In addition to Rochester and Jane now being equal, I feel that Rochester’s blindness and reliance on her causes him to negate her social inferiority because Rochester now lives through Jane. In order for Rochester to function normally, “he saw nature – he saw books through [Jane] …” (439) Rochester did not have many options so he once again was forced to look past her social class and to see the world as she viewed it because Jane was his only set of eyes. This quote also introduces the ideas of reading books and this was a major symbol of the novel I felt, because reading was always something people of the wealthy class had the opportunity to experience and it signified them as educated. Based on Jane’s ability to read would signify the amount of knowledge Rochester would eventually gain.
Even though I don’t feel that Rochester changed voluntarily, I feel to a certain extent, he learned from his experiences. The readers later discover that Rochester and Jane got married and by the time they had their first son, Rochester regained the ability to see out of one eye and from that gift, he “…acknowledged that God had tempered judgment with mercy” (440) when giving his son the large and brilliant eyes he once had. From the birth of his son and his inherited characteristics, Rochester learned that God made it possible for his son to be born without any defects, although the birth of a son with deformities would have been another way to punish Rochester for his inappropriate actions early in his life. On the other hand, I feel that Rochester did not learn enough from his experiences to directly benefit Jane because he felt the “ [she] loved him so fondly, that to yield that attendance was to indulge [her]sweetest wishes.” (439) Instead of Rochester finding inner strength to prevail independently, he solely relied on Jane for all of his needs because he knew she desired to be his sole caretaker and lover.
In the final chapter, the readers learned that during their marriage, Rochester regained the ability to see in one of his eyes and this represented fulfillment in both characters. Rochester regained slight control and power because he “…can find his way without being led by the hand,…” (440) at the same time, Jane was satisfied because he still could not ‘…see very distinctly,…” (440) which reassured her that Rochester would continue to rely greatly on her assistance and she would indirectly be continuously appreciated.